We wish to revert for a short time to the fourth paragraph, in which Hahnemann says:”The physician is likewise a preserver of health if he knows the things that derange health and cause disease, and how to remove them from persons in health.”
The Homoeopathic physician is a failure if he does not discriminate. It seems that among the earliest things he must learn is to “Render unto Caesar the things that are. Caesar’s,” to keep everything in its place, to keep everything in order. This little paragraph might seem to relate to nothing but hygiene.
One of the most superficial things in it so say that persons about to be made sick from bad habits should break off their bad habits, they should move from damp houses they should plug their sewers or have traps put in if they are being poisoned with sewer gas. It is everybody’s duty to do these things, but especially the physician’s, and we might almost let it go with the saying. To prevent coffee drinking, vinegar drinking, etc. is a superficial thing; but in this way he may preserve health.
To discriminate, then, is a most important thing. To illustrate it in a general way we might say that one who is suffering from conscience does not need a surgeon. You mighty say he needs a priest. One who is sick in his vital force needs a physician. He who has a lacerated wound, or a broken bone, or deformities, has need of a surgeon. If his tooth must come out he must have a surgeon dentist.
What would be thought of a man who, on being sent for a surgeon to set an injured man’s bones should go for a carpenter to mend the roof of the man’s house? If the man’s house alone needs mending then he needs a carpenter and not a surgeon. The physician must discriminate between the man and his house, and between the repair of man and the repair of his house.
It is folly to give medicine for a lacerated wound, to attempt to close up a deep wound with a dose of remedy. Injuries from knives, hooks, etc., affect the house the man lives in and must be attended to by the surgeon. When the gross exterior conditions which are brought on from exterior causes complicated with the interior man then medicine is required. If the physician acts also as a surgeon he must know when he is to perform his functions as a surgeon, and when he must keep back as a surgeon. He should sew up a wound, but should not burn out an ulcer with Nitrate of Silver.
If he is not able to discriminate, and on every ulcer he plasters his external applications, he is not a preserver of health. When signs and symptoms are present the physician is needed, because these come from the interior to the exterior. But if his condition is brought on only from external causes, the physician must delay action and let the surgeon do his work. Yet we see around us that physicians bombard the house the man lives in and have no idea of treating the man. They are no more than carpenters, they attempt to repair the roof, put on boards and bandages, and yet by their bandaging the man from head to foot they often do an improper thing.
The physician must know the things that derange health and remove them. If a fang of an old tooth causes headache day and night that cause must be removed. To prescribe when a splinter is pressing on a nerve and leave the splinter in would be foolishness and criminal negligence. The aim should be to discriminate and remove external causes and turn into order internal causes.
A man comes for treatment, and he is living on deviled crabs and lobster salad and other trash too rich for the stomach of a dog. If we keep on giving Nux Vomica to that man we are foolish. If a man who has been living viciously stops it he can be helped, but so long as that external cause is not removed the physician is not using discrimination. Vicious habits, bad living, living in damp houses are externals and must be removed. When a man avoids these externals, is cleanly, carefully chooses his food, has a comfortable home, and is still miserable, he must be treated from within.
You know how we are maligned and lied about. You have heard it said about some strict homoeopath, “He tried to set a broken leg with the c.m. potency of Mercury. What a poor fool!” But still outside of such an instance this discrimination is an important matter. You must remember it especially when busy, as at times it will be hard to decide. This kind of diagnosis is important, because it settles between things external and internal. Every physician does not discriminate thus, for if he did there would not be so many poultices and murderous external applications used. Among those who do not discriminate are those who apply medicines externally and give them internally. Now we return to the fifth paragraph, which reads: